“I don’t think I will ever forget the time when one of our cats killed a mouse, and placed it next my little sister’s pillow as a gift. Although we were left speechless and a little startled at the time, we knew his intentions were good,” said Dudley, a celebrated South Florida elementary school teacher and now published children’s book author.
This is one of many unforgettable memories of the antics of her family’s colorful cats that had plenty of attitude and pride that provided Dudley with material to help fulfill a long-life desire-to become a children’s book author.
Dudley recently scored two victories: first, she was voted 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year at Natural Bridge Elementary School located in North Miami. Secondly, she debuted as a children’s book author at Miami-Dade College’s 31st Annual Miami Book Fair International, reading excerpts from her first book titled Jasper, the Fetching Cat to a packed house of children and parents at the Children’s Storytellers Pavilion.
Dudley is one of several African-American, Latin and Caribbean authors who participated in book signings, reading and one-on-one sessions at the Miami-Dade Colleges’ annual book fair, which is one of the largest literary festivals in the country.
“The laughter, the gasps, the curious looks and smiles on the faces of the children and their parents as a read about Jasper’s escapades were priceless. I have always believed that if reach a child and pique their interest you can teach a child,” said Dudley.
Jasper, the Fetching Cat, which is published by Author House under Dudley’s pen name Candace Lynn, tells the story about a cat’s comfort and security in once “purrfect” home threatened by the arrival of a newcomer.
“I hope Jasper’s antics will help children and families recognize their pets’ talents and worth. More importantly, I want to encourage our students to read by providing them with thought provoking and fun reading material,” said Dudley. I also enjoy nurturing the gifts of the students in my care every day. Writing this book allows me to reach and teach children of all ages around the world,” Dudley added.
Dudley feels blessed to play a role in the education of our children who will one day blaze their own trails to success. She has taught at Coral Gables, Rockway, and Scott Lake Elementary Schools before joining the staff at Natural Bridge seven years ago.
She takes pride in using her creative writing and public speaking skills to enhance her students’ performance, build bridges with parents and guardians, and interact with colleagues.
She is a native of South Florida, born in Miami Beach. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Florida State University and later a Master’s of Education degree from American Intercontinental University.
Jasper, the Fetching Cat is now available online at major book retailers. She is already working on her second and third books which are expected to be released next year.